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Pharmacy Thefts On The Rise
The numbers are staggering. According to Blue Cross, Californians fill 34 million prescriptions a year for legitimate aches and pains.
On a national level, the insurance company estimates 25 million doses of prescription drugs are stolen every year. Many are pain pills like Vicodin and Oxycontin.
Knowing that, Dinesh Patel refuses to carry Oxycontin in his Anaheim pharmacy. It still didn't stop thieves from breaking into his store by cutting through the roof.
He has added heavy steel bars on every door. Surveillance cameras are on around the clock. And when he closes up for the night, all the drugs are secured because of what happened last summer.
"Whoever came in they tried to take the pain meds but the alarm went off and they just messed everything up and ran away," Patel said.
Only two years ago, Orange County seemed to be a magnet for Oxycontin thefts. Surveillance tape from the store shows two thieves believed responsible for a string of pharmacy heists, all very calculated. Deputies say the men would break in, steal thousands of pills and be gone in two minutes.
Local pharmacists say the trend from Sudafed to pain meds is growing increasingly profitable.
"I wish I could make that kind of profit. I hear they're selling for $100 a pill," said pharmacist Dennis Witherwax.
Pharmacists believe there is always a demand for cheap prescription drugs.